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CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

CITY OF NEW ORLEANS


MITCHELL J. LANDRIEU
MAYOR

ROBERT D. RIVERS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
LESLIE T. ALLEY
DEPUTY DIRECTOR

City Planning Commission Staff Report


Executive Summary
Zoning Docket 044/16
Applicant:

LAKEFOREST TOWER LLC

Request:

This is a request for a Zoning Change from a C-1 General Commercial District to
an MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed-Use District.

Location:

10101 LAKE FOREST BOULEVARD

Summary of Proposal:
The purpose of the proposed re-zoning is to allow this existing building to be used
as a residential building with 200 one-bedroom units above the ground floor. The
use would be a permitted use under the proposed MU-1 Medium Intensity MixedUse District. With a commercial use on the ground floor, the project would be
allowed as a conditional use in the existing C-1 General Commercial District.
Master Plan: The proposal is not consistent with the Master Plan.
Recommendation:
The staff recommends DENIAL of Zoning Docket 044/16, a request for a Zoning
Change from a C-1 General Commercial District to an MU-1 Medium Intensity
Mixed-Use District.
Reasons for Recommendation:
1.

ZD 044/16

The proposed zoning district is not consistent with the Master Plan

City Planning Commission Meeting


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

CPC Deadline: 07/09/16


CC Deadline: 60 days from receipt
City Council District: E - Gray

PRELIMINARY STAFF REPORT


Zoning Docket: 044/16
To: City Planning Commission
From: Robert Rivers, Executive Director
Stephen Kroll, Assistant Planning Administrator
Prepared by: Danica Adams
Date: May 3, 2016
I.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:

LAKEFOREST TOWER LLC

Request:

This is a request for a Zoning Change from a C-1 General Commercial District to
an MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed-Use District.

Location:

Section 24, Lot 3B-6, Lakratt Tract, in the Third Municipal District, bounded by
Lake Forest and Read Boulevards, Interstate 10 and Deer Park Boulevard. The
municipal address is 10101 LAKE FOREST BOULEVARD. (PD 9)

Description: The subject site, Lot 3B-6, is an irregularly shaped interior lot with frontage on
Lake Forest Drive in New Orleans East. It is located within
a C-1 General Commercial District, the ENORC Eastern
New Orleans Renaissance Corridor Use Restriction Overlay
District and a CT Corridor Transformation Design Overlay
District. According to the 2013 survey of the property
provided by the applicant, Lot 3B-6 has 181.90 feet of
frontage on Lake Forest Boulevard, and is 110,062 square
feet in size, or 2.5267 acres.

ZD 044/16

The subject lot is in a large, irregularly


shaped square, bounded by the I-10 East
On-ramp to the north, Read Boulevard to
the west, and Lake Forest Boulevard to
the South. The Eastern boundary is
comprised of multiple smaller squares as
well as a public right of way.
The subject site is currently improved
with a large, X shaped, fourteen story
structure set back approximately one
hundred ten feet (110) from the street. It
is currently vacant, and has been since
before 2007. Historically the structure
was a VOA senior housing complex and
consisted of 200 one-bedroom units. It
has a footprint of approximately thirteen
thousand three hundred sixty square feet
(13,360 sq. ft.) and is fourteen (14) stories
tall.
The structure is developed with a parking
lot on all sides and has an entrance that is
difficult to find. The site has
approximately seventy three thousand
square feet (73,000 sq. ft.) of impervious
surface, or 1.6 acres, on the 2.5 acre site.
The property is enclosed with a hurricane
fence. The applicant requests a zoning
change to allow multi-family use in the
proposed C-1 District. With a commercial
use on the ground floor, the project would be allowed as a conditional use in the
existing C-1 General Commercial District.1
Why is City Planning Commission action required?
The City Planning Commission is required to make a recommendation on all requests for
zoning map amendments prior to City Council action, in accordance with Section 4.2.D
Action by the Planning Commission of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

A preliminary review indicates that the site, as it currently exists, may require a variance to accommodate parking
for both residential and commercial uses. A full review of the sites compatibility with the zoning ordinance would
be conducted upon submission of a conditional use application.

ZD 044/16

II.

ANALYSIS

A.

What is the zoning of the surrounding areas? What is the existing land use? And how
are the surrounding areas used?
The subject site is located within a C-1 General Commercial District, the ENORC Eastern
New Orleans Renaissance Corridor Use Restriction Overlay District and a CT Corridor
Transformation Design Overlay District.
The C-1 General Commercial District is intended to provide appropriate locations for a
variety of commercial activities, generally serving a wide area and located particularly
along commercial corridors with a mix of commercial, service, and residential activities.
Areas of the C-1 District are oriented toward pedestrians but also accommodate larger
commercial uses generally accessed by automobiles.
There are seven lots located within this C-1 General Commercial District, and three,
including the subject site, are developed. Of the three lots which are developed, only two
of the seven structures are occupied: one is in use as an office building and the other as a
medical clinic. The majority of the district is undeveloped, with dense tree canopy cover.
This portion of Lake Forest Boulevard is a four lane divided boulevard with bike lanes and
sidewalks on each side. The neutral ground is wide, with mature trees and landscaping, and
is improved with a walking path. From the intersection of Lake Forest and Read Blvds.,
traveling east on Lake Forest Boulevard, Joe Brown Park is on the south side of the street.
On the north side of the street is a large multi-story glass office building located on the
corner, followed by the subject site, which is currently vacant. Following the subject site
is a three hundred seventy foot (370) stretch of dense tree canopy and underbrush,
followed by a medical clinic located at the intersection of Lake Forest and Deer Park Blvds.
Immediately adjacent to the C-1 General Commercial District in which the subject site is
located is a C-2 Auto-Oriented Commercial District, a C-3 Heavy Commercial District, an
S-RD Suburban Two-Family Residential District, an S-RS Suburban Single-Family
Residential District, and an OS-R Regional Open Space District.

ZD 044/16

The C-2 Auto-Oriented Commercial District located immediately west of the subject site
fronts on Read Blvd., which is a six-lane divided boulevard with a wide, tree-lined neutral
ground in the center. There are sidewalks on both sides of the boulevard. Moving northwest towards I-10 on Read Blvd. from the intersection of Lake Forest and Read Blvds.,
there is a large Save-A-Lot supermarket, Wendys fast food restaurant, a small strip mall,
Whitney Bank building, Waffle House, Knight Inn, CVS Pharmacy, and a Popeyes
Louisiana Kitchen fast food restaurant. The backs of these properties abut the interior of
the C-1 General Commercial District under question.
The C-3 Heavy Commercial District located to the north of the subject zoning district fronts
on the I-10 service road. It is currently improved with both occupied and vacant
commercial structures, including a self-storage warehouse, a small strip mall, and two
hotels. The rear property lines of these businesses abut the C-1 General Commercial
District in which the subject site is located.
The S-RD Suburban Two-Family Residential District located directly to the northeast of
the subject site is accessed via Deer Park Blvd, a narrow, two-lane boulevard that cuts
through the C-1 General Commercial District in which the subject site is located. The
eastern side of the boulevard is intermittently developed with offices, and occasionally
developed with portions of a sidewalk. The western edge of the boulevard is undeveloped
and is the edge of a heavily wooded thicket. The S-RD District is comprised of a single
subdivision with three streets that connect to form a rectangle. Approximately thirty (30)
of the one hundred thirty (130) available lots are developed with townhouses, duplexes,
and single family homes. The remaining lots are vacant.
The S-RS Suburban Single-Family Residential District, also located to the east of the
subject site, is fully developed with single family residences.
ZD 044/16

The Joe Brown Park is an OS-R Regional Open Space District located directly across the
street from the subject site. Joe Brown Park is approximately eight one (81) acres in size
and contains ball fields, a rec center, pavilions and walking paths, as well as a large lagoon.
B.

C.

What is the zoning and land use history of the site?


Zoning:

1929 Not on the map, but closest area in the east is Unrestricted
1953 The area bounded by the Dwyer Road and Canal, Read Shell Road,
Morrison Road, and the Farrar Canal is zoned A Single Family
District
1970 RM-4 Multi-Family Residential
2015 (prior to 8/12/2015) RM-2E Eastern New Orleans Multiple-Family
Residential District
2015 (effective 8/12/2015) C-1 General Commercial District

Land Use:

1929 (not on the map; presumably undeveloped)


1949 (not on the map; presumably undeveloped)
1999 Commercial2

Have there been any recent zoning changes or conditional uses or planned
developments in the immediate area? If so, do these changes indicate any particular
pattern or trend?
In the past five years, there have been four requests for zoning changes and development
approvals (including conditional uses and planned developments) for properties located
within five blocks of the petitioned site. One was to permit an increase in intensity of use,
one was to repeal a previous zoning docket, and two were to permit the sale of alcoholic
beverages at existing uses. These are not indicative of a pattern or trend relative to the
current application.

D.

What is the purpose of the proposed rezoning?


The purpose of the proposed re-zoning from C-1 General Commercial to MU-1 Medium
Intensity Mixed Use District is to allow this site to be developed with a residential use. The
applicant proposes the development of two hundred (200) one-bedroom units for seniors
aged sixty two and over (62+). The existing structure was designed and built probably in
the late 20th century as senior-oriented multi-family housing with two hundred (200) onebedroom units. It was damaged by Hurricane Katrina and appears to have been vacant since
that time. Prior to the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO), the site was zoned
RM-2E Eastern New Orleans Multiple-Family Residential District, and this use would
have been allowed. Under the new CZO, which went into effect in August 2015, the site
is within a C-1 General Commercial District, which does not allow multi-family residences
as the sole use of the property.

The 1999 Land Use Plan presented a generalized indication of land uses, and was not lot-specific.

ZD 044/16

E.

What impact will the proposed conditional use have on the transportation system, if
any? What are the off-street parking and off-street loading requirements? Can they
be provided on site? If not, is a waiver required?
Traffic
The proposed re-zoning from C-1 General Commercial to MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed
Use District is generally considered a decrease in intensity of use. The C-1 District is
oriented almost exclusively toward auto-oriented commercial uses, while the MU-1
District allows less intensive residential uses. Therefore, while bringing the currently
vacant structure into any type of use would substantially increase the volume of traffic and
would impact the traffic patterns of the area, the MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed Use
District would generally impact traffic somewhat less than a C-1 General Commercial
District.
Parking
Parking requirements are calculated according to use and are impacted by the zoning
designation. There are approximately sixty five (65) parking spaces currently striped in the
parking lot, however, the redevelopment of this structure would require that it come into
compliance with new parking regulations. Parking requirements for commercial uses vary
by use, and are usually based on GFA. However, the proposed zoning of MU-1 Mixed Use
District allows the first five-thousand (5,000) square feet in gross floor area for commercial
uses to be exempt from the vehicle parking requirements. Additionally, in both the existing
C-1 and proposed MU-1 Districts, on-street parking spaces located along the front or side
property line may be counted toward required off-street parking spaces for commercial
uses. Compliance with the parking requirements for any particular development would be
reviewed as a part of the permitting process.
Loading
Loading requirements are calculated according to use and are impacted by the zoning
designation. Neither C-1 General Commercial Districts nor MU-1 Medium Intensity
Mixed Use Districts have any loading exemptions, limitations, or flexibilities.

F.

Can the request be considered a spot zone? Does it fall within the Historic NonConforming Use Policy?
The terms spot zone and spot zoning refers to zoning changes which have the effect of
singling out a lot or other relatively small tracts of land for treatment different from similar
surrounding parcels. These zoning changes have the effect of granting preferential
treatment to those spot zoned parcels which is not also granted to similarly-situated
surrounding properties. Due to this preferential treatment, the Commission is generally
not supportive of spot zoning.

ZD 044/16

While this request is to change the zoning of one parcel of land which would be surrounded
on all sides by a different zoning district, it would not be considered an inappropriate spot
zone due to its historic use and zoning as a single-lot zoning district. In the previous
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the parcel was zoned RM-2E Eastern New Orleans
Multiple-Family Residential District, and was surrounded on all sides by different zoning
districts. Despite the previous zoning and use as residential, the zoning of the subject site
was changed, effective August 2015, to be part of a larger C-1 General Commercial

Previous Zoning as RM-2E Eastern New Orleans

Current Zoning in C-1 General Commercial District

Multiple-Family Residential District

District. Because the site was historically


zoned differently from surrounding properties, the proposed rezoning, which would
continue to treat it differently from surrounding properties, in not a spot zone that would
give the site preferential treatment.
G.

Compliance with approval standards


The City Planning Commission recommendation and the City Council decision on any
zoning map amendment are matters of legislative discretion. In making their
recommendation and decision, the City Planning Commission and the City Council are
required to consider the standards in Table 4-1: Standards for Zoning Amendments of
the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. In this section, the staff evaluates the application
using those standards.
The proposed amendment is compatible with the Master Plan and Future Land Use
Map.
This standard is not met. Chapter 14: Land Use Plan of the Master Plan designates the
future land use of the petitioned site as Neighborhood Commercial. The goal, range of
uses and development character for this designation is provided below:
NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL
Goal: Provide areas for small-scale, neighborhood-oriented commercial
development that enhances the pedestrian character and convenience of

ZD 044/16

neighborhoods by allowing commercial establishments in select locations within


walking distance to surrounding residential areas.
Range of Uses: Retail and professional service establishments serving local
neighborhood area residents. Common uses include small groceries, restaurants,
barber shops/salons, clothing boutiques, banks, pharmacies, and small health
professional offices. Conversion to multifamily may be allowed for certain existing
historic institutional, commercial or other non-residential buildings.
Development Character: Buildings are oriented to the sidewalk (parking in rear
where possible) with maximum heights related to the character of the street.
Landscape requirements for parking lots facing the street.
According to the consistency table located in Appendix A of the Comprehensive Zoning
Ordinance, a zoning change from C-1 General Commercial to a MU-1 Medium Intensity
Mixed Use District is not consistent with the Neighborhood Commercial designation3. The
existing zoning designation of the site as a C-1 General Commercial District is considered
compatible with a Neighborhood Commercial Land Use designation.
The proposed amendment is compatible with the place designations of this
Ordinance.
This standard is met. The proposed amendment requests an MU-1 Medium Intensity
Mixed Use District, which is compatible with either suburban or urban districts. Due to the
flexible nature of this designation, an MU-1 District can be located in either of these place
designations.
The proposed amendment is compatible with existing use and zoning of nearby
property.
This standard is met. Although the subject
property is currently vacant, it has a
history of multi-family residential use.
The zoning of the property to the west of
the subject site is commercial, and the
zoning to the east of the existing C-1
General Commercial District is partially
residential and partially commercial.
Across the street is Joe Brown Park, a
large open space. The proposed mixed
uses authorized within the MU-1 District
The site is located within an existing C-1 General
Commercial

Appendix A states that the following zoning districts are consistent with the Neighborhood Commercial future land
use designation: HMC-1 Historic Marigny/Trem/Bywater Commercial District, HMC-2 Historic
Marigny/Trem/Bywater Commercial District, HU-B1 Neighborhood Business District, S-B1 Suburban Business
District, S-B2 Pedestrian-Oriented Corridor Business District, S-LB1 Lake Area Neighborhood Business District, SLB2 Lake Area Neighborhood Business District, and C-1 General Commercial District

ZD 044/16

would be compatible with all of these existing zoning designations.

The proposed amendment promotes the public health, safety and welfare of the City.
This standard is met. The proposed zoning change is intended to allow a residential
development, which would not harm the public health, safety and welfare of the City.
The proposed amendment is a more suitable zoning classification for the property
than the current classification.
This standard is not met because the proposed MU-1 District is not consistent with the
Master Plan future land use designation.
Based upon the length of time that the property in question has been vacant, the
proposed amendment is a more suitable zoning classification for the property than
the current classification considered in the context of development in the area where
the property is located.
This standard is met. The current zoning is inhibiting the property owners ability to use
the subject site as it was originally developed. A more flexible zoning, which allows mixed
use, commercial or residential may be appropriate, if not for the conflict with the Master
Plan.
According to historic Sanborn maps, the subject property has a history of residential use
until 2007. In August 2010, the Plan for the 21st Century was adopted designating this area
as Neighborhood Commercial, and in May 2015 the City Council voted to adopt a new
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The lot has remained vacant during this time. Though
there are commercial uses on the same blockface as the subject site, the majority of the
structures in this C-1 General Commercial District are vacant, and have been some time.
The trend in the immediate vicinity has not been for new construction of commercial
businesses. In fact, as mentioned previously, only two of the seven existing structures are
occupied, and no new commercial structures have been constructed. Given the surrounding
development and the development trends of the area, the staff believes that the proposed
zoning change from C-1 General Commercial to MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed Use
District would be more suitable for the subject site if not for the conflict with the Master
Plan.
The proposed amendment corrects an error or omission, adds clarification to existing
requirements, or reflects a change in policy.
This standard is not met. The proposed amendment does not correct an error or reflect a
change in current policy.
The proposed amendment benefits the citizens of the City as a whole.
ZD 044/16

10

The proposed amendment would not have a significant impact on the City as a whole.
The proposed amendment provides a more workable way to achieve the intent and
purposes of this Ordinance and the Master Plan.
This standard is met. The Master Plan designation of Neighborhood Commercial is
intended to enhance the pedestrian character and provide commercial establishments
within walking distance of surrounding residential areas. The development of the existing
structure in accordance with the C-1 General Commercial uses would not enhance the
pedestrian character intended in the Neighborhood Commercial designation. Because the
MU-1 zoning designation, with its inclusion of residential uses in addition to commercial
uses, is inherently more flexible, it provides a greater range of uses which better aligns with
the goals and range of uses described in the Neighborhood Commercial designation,
despite it not being considered consitent.
The proposed amendment does not create a significant number of nonconformities
This standard is met. The proposed amendment would not create a non-conformity.
IV.

SUMMARY
The purpose of the proposed re-zoning is to allow this site to be developed into a residential
building with 200 one-bedroom units above the ground floor. This use is not allowed in the
current C-1 General Commercial District without commercial on the ground floor and a
conditional use. The use would be allowed under the proposed MU-1 Medium Intensity
Mixed-Use District. The staff does not support the zoning change because it is not
consistent with the sites neighborhood commercial land use designation.

V.

PRELIMINARY STAFF RECOMMENDATION4


The staff recommends DENIAL of Zoning Docket 044/16, a request for a Zoning Change
from a C-1 General Commercial District to an MU-1 Medium Intensity Mixed-Use
District.

VI.

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION


1. The proposed zoning district is not consistent with the Master Plan

Subject to modification by the City Planning Commission

ZD 044/16

11

City of New Orleans Property Viewer


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10101 Lake Forest Boulevard


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10101 Lake Forest Boulevard